Holiday Gifts for the Horse Lover: A great year to give books

As we count down to the winter holidays, the world goes into gift-giving mode. Whether you’re lighting a menorah, gathering around a nativity scene, or simply looking forward to some quiet time with loved ones, the focus is on finding and sharing something special with those on your list. As you plan your holiday gifts, consider the ultimate mind consumable: books.

Here are some book ideas for the horse lover on your list.

New for 2022

Every year, new books join the canon of horse racing literature, and 2022 saw the addition of stories about the names and traditions that make the sport as we know it. Fiction or nonfiction, these titles make great gifts for anyone who loves all facets of racing, past and present.

Leap of Faith, by Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori arrived in England at the age of 14, speaking no English but determined to succeed as a jockey. Almost four decades later, the world’s most famous jockey shares his story in his autobiography. Enjoy every jump from the saddle as he recounts the highs and lows of his turns on the world’s greatest horses.

Landaluce: The Story of Seattle Slew’s First Champion by Mary Perdue

When Seattle Slew retired from the racetrack in 1978, he entered stud at Spendthrift Farm with high hopes that the Triple Crown winner could reproduce his immortal talents. From his first harvest came the wonderful Landaluce bay pup. She shone from the second she burst from the starting gate, stunning everyone who saw her run and promising much from this daughter of Seattle Slew. Tragedy left her potential unfulfilled, leaving behind the story of this fabulous filly and hinting at greatness to come at stud from the Triple Crown winner.

The Adventures of Crazy Cory: A Collection of Horse Racing Stories by Dawn LeFevre

Dawn LeFevre shares the continuing adventures of the characters introduced in her 2021 Tony Ryan Book Award Finalist books, Backstretch Girls and Racetrack Rogues. Dive deeper into this finely drawn world and enjoy these stories of life with friends like Teegan, Anne and of course Crazy Cory.

My Old Kentucky Home: The Amazing Life and Account of an Iconic American Song by Emily Bingham

Author Emily Bingham explores the history behind the song “My Old Kentucky Home,” from its origins in pre-Civil War Kentucky to the re-exploration of its meaning in the 21st century. She chronicles the song’s journey over the century and a half since it became for first popular and struggles with its place in modern American culture.

A Day at the Races: The Horses, Men and Races That Shaped the Sport of Kings by Peter May

In 128 vignettes, Peter May encapsulates five hundred years of horse racing history, from King Henry VIII to the great brilliance of a horse called Frankel. Touching on both English and American racing, May appeals to readers on both sides of the Atlantic in this account of some of the sport’s greatest days, an ambitious undertaking that promises to be a great read as we count down to a new racing year.

New York’s Greatest Thoroughbreds: A Contemporary History, by Allan Carter

New York has been the home of horse racing since colonial times, when the first official racetrack was built on Long Island. In the centuries since, the sport has taken root in places like Saratoga Springs and Elmont and hosted countless battles between the greats of the sport. Now, writer Allan Carter recounts some of the Empire State’s greatest of the past 50 years, showing that there is no shortage of great thoroughbreds who are one of the sport’s first homes in America.

The Horse: A Novel, by Geraldine Brooks

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks takes on a unique subject in “Horse,” the legendary stallion Lexington. The book is fiction, but it contextualizes Lexington’s time on the track and in the breeding shed, recalling the stallion’s tumultuous era and connecting it to our own moment in the 21st century. Already a bestseller and one of Amazon’s top 20 books of 2022 , “The Horse” seems to be one of the most popular gifts for readers this holiday season.

Horse racing betting for dummies, by Richard Eng

Originally released in 2005, Eng updates this manual for the new bettor for 2022 and beyond. Perfect for anyone looking to get into betting, this book explores the different types of bets, what to look for as you plan your day’s bets and other tools available to anyone looking to maximize their day at the circuit.

The Fast Ride: Spectacular Bid and The Undoing of a Sure Thing, by Jack Gilden

Three years on from Peter Lee’s book Spectacular Bid, Jack Gilden brings us his look at this gray gelding, the horse who promised to make it three Triple Crowns in a row until something happened on that fateful day at Belmont Park. Gilden looks at the people behind Bid, exploring the roles of trainer Bud Delp, jockey Ronnie Franklin and owners Harry and Teresa Meyerhoff. “The Fast Ride” is another chance to explore the career of this record holder and Hall of Famer.

Kick the Latch, by Kathryn Scanlan

Published at the end of September, Scanlan’s novel is a new exploration of backcountry life told through the eyes of Sonia, a trainer who spent years working with horses for a living. Based on interviews Scanlan conducted with Sonia, the book promises an intimacy with this rarely seen and intriguing facet of sporting life for anyone familiar with horse racing.

Ashforth’s Curiosities of Horse Racing, by David Ashforth

Organized by category and designed for readers to experience in any order they choose, Ashforth’s book collects racing shorts from around the world. From keeping Phar Lap to racing the wrong horse, this collection will share stories sure to entertain fans who enjoy a good expression and a little trivia about the sport we all love.

Books Gift Coffee table

The scenes at the heart of the sport of horse racing create thrills on and off the track, as captured by the photographs and paintings seen in these collections. All make great gifts for the horse lover in your life.

Kentucky Horse Country: Pictures of the Bluegrass, by James Archambeault

Captured in photographs by renowned photographer James Archambeault are some of the most iconic scenes of life in the Bluegrass. Whether quietly grazing on a beautiful sunny day or blazing away on the state’s historic racetracks, these animals catch the eye and evoke memories of the names that have meant so much to us throughout our years in the sport.

A Brush with Greatness: The Art of North American Thoroughbred Racing from 2000 to the Triple Crown by Robert Clark

Artist Robert Clark captures many great racehorses of the 21st century on his canvas with 79 portraits collected here. From American Pharoah to Zenyatta, experience their exploits in both word and paint, with historian Edward Bowen complementing Clark’s art with his erudite observations about the horses captured on every page.

The Kentucky Derby, by Bill Doolittle

A gorgeous, colorful look at the nation’s most iconic race, Doolittle’s board book showcases the beauty and majesty of Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Experience the sights of the Derby for over a century while enjoying images of Derby week in the 21st century. This is a great gift for anyone who celebrates Kentucky Derby Day as a national holiday.

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